Past and Present Biases

Picture of Lower Hudson Street in 1865
Lower Hudson Street, c. 1865, from Old New York in Early Photographs

We have to be careful not to let the biases of nineteenth-century observers,

men like George Foster who were outsiders to the neighborhood, prevent us from hearing the voices of the actual residents who lived there. The Five Points artifacts speak for those whom Walt Whitman described in 1842 as "...not paupers and criminals, but the Republic's most needed asset, the wealth of stout poor men [and we will add women] who will work" (the Aurora).

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